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Monthly Workshop/Debriefing Project

Nurturing Volunteers Supporting Detainees and Refugees By:Craig Anderson

Psychotherapy Healing Space had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with the Chinese University of Hong Kong on a project aimed at bringing together an often-overlooked group of selfless supporters. The purpose of this initiative was to provide a platform for sharing experiences, fostering personal growth, and enhancing the skills of volunteers who tirelessly assist marginalized individuals lacking representation and support.

Spanning across ten monthly sessions, mindfulness was at the core of the therapeutic and creative process that incorporated various art forms to delve into personal experiences, and encouraged reflective strategies for inner exploration. The primary objectives of these workshops were twofold: to facilitate healing and develop resilience by addressing the emotional toll of the selfless work, and to recognize and celebrate the often-unnoticed efforts of the compassionate individuals who spend extra time helping others.  Some skills that were incorporated were:

Timelining – Plotting Journeys

   One session focused on utilizing a timelining exercise to raise awareness of our individual paths. This activity encouraged participants to reflect on their personal growth, challenges faced, and milestones achieved. By visually mapping out their journeys, volunteers gained a deeper understanding of their own development and the transformative impact they have had on the lives of others.

Using art to facilitate Expression – Revisualizing Stories

   Drawing on art, volunteers were encouraged to explore their emotions and experiences through creative expression without boundaries. Through various art approaches, participants were able to share their stories and connect on a deeper level, fostering a sense of empathy and understanding within the group. This process not only provided a cathartic outlet but also allowed for collective healing and solidarity.

Drama and Movement – Connecting through Shared Experience

   To further deepen their understanding and forge connections, volunteers engaged in drama and movement exercises. By embodying their own experiences and of those they support, participants were able to develop a profound sense of empathy and compassion. This experiential approach allowed them to gain insight into the challenges faced by detainees and refugees, fostering a greater commitment to their cause.

Creating Masks – Embracing Defences and Openness to Unmasking

   The act of creating masks became a powerful tool for volunteers to explore their own defenses and vulnerabilities. By externalizing their inner struggles and protective mechanisms, participants were able to gain a new perspective on their


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